The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box is a perfectly suitable family action-adventure though the ending has much to be desired with muddy editing and poor focus. The Blu-ray released by RLJ offers standard audio/video transfers while the solo featurette wasn’t bad. For what it is, it’s not a bad movie and probably worth renting.
Genre(s): Adventure, Fantasy
RLJ Entertainment | PG – 98 min. – $29.97 | February 11, 2014
Directed by: Jonathan Newman
Writer(s): G.P. Taylor (novel); Christian Taylor and Matthew Huffman (screenplay)
Cast: Michael Sheen, Lena Headey, Keeley Hawes, Ioan Gruffudd, Sam Neill, Aneurin Barnard, Mella Carron
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 20.3 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box is based upon the novel “Mariah Mundi: The Midas Box” by G.P. Taylor and is the latest attempt to capitalize on the fantasy genre brought about in large part by the Harry Potter franchise and in smaller part, The Hunger Games. It might be because my expectations were fairly low to begin with, but I actually found the movie, for the first half anyway, to be entertaining, albeit the finale was a jumbled mess…
The story centers on Mariah Mundi (ANEURIN BARNARD), a teenage boy afflicted with what I’d like to call the Tim Burton Syndrome, born with all-too dark hair and natural liner around his eyes; seriously, it was kind of freaky to see. His world is turned upside down when he meets a man named Will Charity (MICHAEL SHEEN), an old war buddy of Mariah’s father (IOAN GRUFFUDD) who has been injured during a scuffle. Will requests to Mariah’s mother (KEELEY HAWES) and father where upon he gives an emblem split into two and tells them their lives are in danger and to guard the artifact.
Of course, sensing danger literally around the corner, Mariah’s mother slips him and his younger brother Felix (XAVIER ATKINS) each half of the emblem and sends the two off to the hotel where they are staying. And wouldn’t you know it, the father and mother are both nabbed by hoodlums working for madman Otto Luger (SAM NEILL) who is trying to find the Midas Box which apparently turns anything in it into gold and thus has major impact on the global gold market; or something along those lines. Doesn’t really matter, all you need to know is outside of one scene with Hawes, you don’t see either her or Gruffudd again until much later.
The two goons arrive at the hotel looking for the emblem, out of sheer luck, Mariah and Felix manage to escape but the following day get picked up for stealing where, wouldn’t you know it, the goons find them. However, Will helps Mariah out of a bind with a poorly choreographed fight scene but the goons take Felix away. This sequence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since Will and Mariah had ample opportunity to save Felix; of course, if Felix hadn’t been taken, there wouldn’t be much of a plot… So, now not only is Mariah tasked with finding his parents, stopping Luger from getting a hold of the Midas box but also rescue his kid brother. Will does set Mariah up with a job at the hotel recently bought by Luger on an island where it is suspected the box is located and where Felix is being held.
At the hotel, Mariah works as a porter and meets hottie and tough hotel manager Monica (LENA HEADEY) who, as you might guess, is yet another baddie and only makes a few appearances just as with Sam Neill and Michael Sheen. In any case, Mariah snoops around and finds a reluctant helper in seamstress Sacha (MELLA CARRON) and together they attempt to uncover the goings-on and find his brother whom Mariah had promised to protect.
As I said in the opening, The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box was an attempt to fill the void left by the Harry Potter franchise and hopefully capture the young adult audience. However, thanks to a limited theatrical showing (as of this writing, no numbers have been posted), this reportedly $25 million production won’t be getting a sequel unless it somehow finds a following on DVD/Blu-ray. Based on this movie, while there are some good and entertaining scenes, some fun cameo-like appearances from great character actors like Sam Neill, Michael Sheen and Lena Headey, the finale was one cluster-f with poorly editing fights to go along with a story that turned muddied. For his part, the young Aneurin Barnard does well in the lead role with some solid acting chops not unlike Daniel Radcliffe in his debut in the Potter series.
The supporting roles were all good even if each only appeared for only 10-15 minutes at a time, even less in the case of Gruffudd, and they add a certain and much needed weight to the film and help the younger actors. On the plus side, the production design was well done with some top notch sets, locations and wardrobe designs set in the Victorian era.
In the end, The Adventurer, this was helmed by Jonathan Newman, whose career is comprised of short films and independent productions, does a well enough job the ending withstanding. As a family adventure flick, it’s safe enough and despite issues with the editing, fight chorography and so forth, it’s not too bad and there’s enough for even adults to enjoy. The being said, there is a teaser ending which leads to a sequel that unfortunately is unlikely to happen.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
This release comes with a thin, title-embossed, slip cover.
The Making of The Adventurer (20:43; HD) is a behind-the-scenes look at how the project came to be and includes on-set interviews with the cast and crew. Although nothing amazing, it’s still nicely done and worth a look.
VIDEO – 3.0/5
The Adventurer arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of RLJ Entertainment presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. One thing I noticed right off is that this is a soft looking movie. I don’t know if it was the type of film used or what, but throughout the detail levels, while decent, never appeared sharp. Colors lean on the darker side and outside of a scene or two with banding, it doesn’t look too bad. While hardly something you’ll show off, it’s an average looking transfer.
AUDIO – 3.25/5
On a similar front, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track provided is pretty lackluster. Sure, dialogue levels are clear enough but everything else, including the few action scenes, come across utterly flat with little to no depth. The LFE channel barely kicks in so it doesn’t have that pop I expected.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box is a perfectly suitable family action-adventure though the ending has much to be desired with muddy editing and poor focus. The Blu-ray released by RLJ offers standard audio/video transfers while the solo featurette wasn’t bad. For what it is, it’s not a bad movie and probably worth renting.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.